Marketers look to Leap Day for novel branding opportunities
Once every four years, just before the Summer Olympics and U.S. presidential election seasons, brands and marketers are given a rare chance to capitalize on having an extra 24 hours in their year. This Saturday is Feb. 29, better known as Leap Day, and whether you’re a bargain-minded consumer or a “leapling” celebrating a novelty birthday, marketers want your attention.
From cash discounts to product giveaways, here’s how seven brands are making the most out of Leap Day 2020:
To hype its new delivery service, Krispy Kreme is rewarding a select few: the parents, doctors and nurses delivering Leap Day babies. The chain is promising to bring five dozen free doughnuts to any hospital within 10 miles of a Krispy Kreme on Feb. 29—as long as parents or maternity ward staff post on social media about the birth, while naming the hospital and tagging “#KrispyKremeSpecialDelivery.” Krispy Kreme is using paid and earned media to promote its idea, brand CMO Dave Skena told Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
For leaplings who can only celebrate their true birthdays once every four years, Hotels.com has a gift to ease the pain: 29 special discount codes worth $290 each, redeemable at the hotels of their choice. To earn one of the coupons, eligible Leap Day babies must tweet at the hotel booking site and share the biggest struggle of being born on Feb. 29. For those born every other day of the year, Hotels.com is offering 29 percent off select bookings between February and May, with the chance to score an additional 8 percent discount by entering the coupon code “LEAPYEAR2020.”
Known for its Instagrammable desserts, Milk Bar is offering free mini birthday cakes to anyone born on Feb. 29 who visits one of their U.S. locations (with ID)—and those who cash in on the offer will automatically be entered to win free cake for the next four years. If you’re not one of the lucky few, Milk Bar still has a Leap Day deal you can take advantage of: all day on Feb. 29, its new Chocolate Birthday soft-serve ice cream will be available for just $2.29.
To honor “leaplings” who’ve perpetually celebrated their birthdays on Feb. 28, photo-printing service Chatbooks is offering a four-year-long birthday gift. Between now and Leap Day 2024, the Utah-based company is offering people born on Feb. 29 a free photobook each year to “preserve the moments between birthdays.” The promotion, which can be claimed through the first week of March, includes four “Ongoing Series” books comprised of a user’s photos pulled from Instagram or Facebook.
To make the most out of Leap Day 2020, Stella Artois is encouraging consumers to use their extra 24 hours to “un-cancel” plans and spend time with friends and family—all on Anheuser-Busch InBev’s dime. The brand launched on Wednesday the Stella Leap Day Beer Fund, a $366,000 cash reserve (symbolic, of course) to support those who share quality time over a cold one. Consumers can claim a portion of the fund to cover the cost of their Stella by sharing a short film from the brand on social media with the hashtag “#UnCancelPromo,” and tagging someone who’s 21 or older, by Feb. 29.
Leaplings can win a free bag of Lay’s potato chips this Leap Day. All they have to do is comment on the brand’s Leap Day Facebook post on Feb. 28, according to Frito-Lay North America.
This year marks the first time since 1992 that Leap Day has fallen on a Saturday, and to celebrate the special weekend, Miller Lite is offering people 24 extra hours of “Miller Time” with free 24-packs. On Feb. 29, the brewer will post a QR code on its social channels that of-age consumers can use to submit their receipts for one case of beer each; once confirmed, Miller Lite will issue refunds for the beer via PayPal.
*UPDATE: Miller Lite decided to cancel its Leap Day promotion following a deadly shooting on Feb. 26 at a Molson Coors facility in Milwaukee.